During his inauguration address last week, President Seretse Khama Ian Khama added another D to his roadmap of four Ds that would guide his presidency.
On top of the other Ds of Democracy, Dignity, Discipline and Development, the President added another D, for Delivery.
This addition could not have come at an opportune time, for it has been a long time since our national leaders stepped up to the plate to deliver the promises that they made to the electorate during the election campaigns. With over 43 years into independence, thousands of Batswana still live in abject poverty, graduates roam the streets, and the youth turn to crime as they do not have a source of living.
A recent report by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), saying that almost half a million people in Botswana are malnourished as they do not have enough food, is a disgrace to a nation that is endowed with diamonds as the main driver of its national economy. Worse still, half of Batswana are living below the poverty datum line. Even more disastrous is that Botswana, with a more robust economy than a lot of Southern African countries, is eclipsed by countries like Lesotho and Mauritius.
The report also states that while counties have the socio-economic amenities at their disposal to get rid of hunger, there is evidence of a dearth of political goodwill from leaders. That is the crux of the President’s speech.
In his inauguration address, President Khama urged all stakeholders and government officials to deliver to the expectations of Batswana. The people of Botswana have overwhelmingly voted the BDP into power, and the party owes it to the nation to ensure that government resources are harnessed towards improving the lives of the thousands of Botswana who are living in abject poverty, without clean water, food, health facilities, proper education and a source of living.
Botswana is faced with a plethora of socio-economic challenges, among them unemployment, poverty, crime, HIV and Aids and shortage of shelter. While a number of initiatives have been put in place to address these problems, it is evident that a lot remains to be done if the lives of Batswana are to be improved. We have to congratulate government, the civil society, members of the public and the private sector for their noble efforts in improving the lives of the less fortunate citizens of this country. But the fact remains that we still have a long way to go, and the onus is not only upon our political leaders but all Batswana to lead the way and save this country from the clutches of poverty and social disintegration.
“For us to make notable progress, everyone in the public service, the private sector, in every office, mine, farm, masimo, moraka ÔÇô must all give their best. Every student and teacher must remember that a moment lost relegates us to the bottom of the skills and knowledge hierarchy. Every artist and every sportsperson should strive to be the very best. It is only when everyone approaches their pursuits with purpose and determination that ownership of the development path will be achieved. This aspiration is driven by our respect for human life. Our health care system, poverty alleviation measures, support for the young, the elderly, people with disabilities, as well as orphans, will be driven in this term by this value system,” Khama said during his inauguration.
The results will be greater, the reach much wider, and the sense of satisfaction much deeper if everyone, in their different capacities, makes their contribution to complement government’s efforts.
Those who are more able must lend a hand to the less fortunate. The spirit of voluntarism must be shown at all times. We preach mindset change to the nation. This ranges from improvement in the nations work ethic, for better productivity and thus improved Delivery, prudent use of our scarce resources and elimination of waste, to the acceptance that no nation is self-sufficient in all areas. The private sector must also redouble its efforts in a spirit of partnership with Government to grow the economy.
The call, therefore, is directed to all Batswana to dirt their hands and contribute to the national interest of elevating this country to the higher echelons of social and economic success. The spirit of individualism must be extinguished. We must all contribute to improving the lives of the next Motswana, and in unison, we shall pass on a prosperous and peaceful country to the next generation. At the same time, government and private sector efforts to improve the lives of Batswana should be met with diligence and prudent management by the recipients. We should not sit back and waste the national resources that are endowed upon us. We should not let our CEDA, BDC and government funded projects go to waste, for it is our responsibility as Batswana to ensure that we earn more so that we can help the next man to earn more.
Delivery should not be restricted to public servants and political leaders alone. It should be the responsibility of each and every Motswana, for it is only when we are diligent in unity that we can be prosperous as a nation.